Parma powder power

The 5th European Powder Diffraction Conf. (EPDIC) in Parma, Italy, May 1997 was attended by over 350 scientists who use powder diffraction chemistry, physics, mineralogy, and biology to characterize materials ranging from pharmaceuticals to art objects. The rapidly developing areas of structure solution from powder diffraction data and in situ studies of phase transformations and chemical reactions proved to be of great interest.

The EPDIC Award lecture was delivered by M. McMahon on powder diffraction studies of highly-condensed matter and the use of in situ powder diffraction in the study of reaction kinetics by D. O'Hare (Oxford). In plenary lectures, L. McCusker (Zurich), reviewed the tools that the smart powder crystallographer ought to carry in his structure solution toolbox and Y. Andreev (St. Andrews) and R. Dinnebier (Bayreuth), showed specific applications of novel techniques involving simulated annealing and grid search techniques with molecular fragments, respectively.

The present and future role of synchrotron radiation and neutron sources in powder diffraction were described by A. Fitch (ESRF, Grenoble) and by S. Hull (RAL, Didcot), while R. Wagner (Geesthacht) presented some interesting insights on the contribution of neutron scattering in materials science and engineering. M. Marezio (Parma) and B. Snyder (Columbus) brilliantly elucidated the important role of powder diffraction in the characterization of high Tc superconducting materials. The models used in texture analysis of polycrystalline materials were critically reviewed by M. Jarvinen (Lappeenranta). Additional details concerning application were discussed in the parallel sessions on chemistry, physics, biology and material science.

Appeared in the CPD Newsletter and website